“He’s got a good arm,” Meehan said of his fellow Pennsylvanian.
Barletta, who unsuccessfully tried out for the Cincinnati Reds in his more youthful days, is humbled by the possibility of stepping in for Shimkus. Moreover, he’s committed to filling any role that will boost the GOP’s chances of victory.
“I’ll do anything I have to do to help our team win. If I get the starting nod, I’m going to go as long and as hard as I could. I’ll do anything I have to do to win this game,” Barletta said.
From Meehan’s vantage, the committee approach would be an effective way to keep Democrats’ bats off balance and possibly neutralize Richmond.
Still, Republicans have no illusions about the talent gap between their staff and the electric Richmond.
“We’ve got to get Richmond to work for the governor and get him out of Washington. He is one heck of a pitcher,” Barletta said.
But those on the GOP side aren’t shying away from the challenge either, believing that some in-game dramatics could prove the difference.
“You gotta go into every game knowing that a couple of bounces one way or the other can make a difference,” Meehan said.
Scott is already brimming with ideas for how to simulate Richmond’s velocity in practices, which begin later this month.
“I hope a part of our plan is to bring in some college pitchers that throw heat to give us an opportunity in batting practice to get us used to the speed of Richmond so we can be competitive,” he said.
Republicans are hoping they’ll be more prepared this year for the hurler from New Orleans.
“[Richmond is] a known quantity, which is good for us this year. We had heard that he was good. We now know that he is. It gives us a chance to prepare for it,” Scott said.
Meehan was more explicit in what tactics the GOP might use to rattle Richmond.
“You might see more bunting. You might see a little more activity on the base path, if people get on. You might see people trying to go deeper into the count, all things that would be what you would do against a strong pitcher in any kind of a circumstance,” he said.
Hoping to preserve a hint of competitive surprise, Barletta was tight-lipped about any kind of strategy that might be used against the Democratic star pitcher.
“I don’t want to let him know what our strategy is going to be. He doesn’t need the help.”